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U.S. Federal appropriations process drags on

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From the National Science Collections Alliance Washington Report:

Lawmakers Seek Another Extension in Deadlines to Complete Appropriations
Congress returned to Capitol Hill on January 8 facing the urgent task of negotiating fiscal year (FY) 2024 spending as a follow-on to the stopgap legislation currently funding the federal government. 
House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reached a long-sought deal on top-line spending levels last week allowing lawmakers to begin the work of negotiating and passing full-year spending bills.  The agreement aligns with the levels established in the debt ceiling agreement reached last spring between President Joe Biden and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).  However, partisan differences remain, making it a challenging path forward.  Overall, the $1.59 trillion agreement allows for $886 billion (+3 percent relative to FY 2023) in defense spending and $773 billion (essentially flat) in nondefense spending.
Lawmakers are facing a January 19 deadline to complete work on 4 out of 12 appropriations bills, including those for Agriculture-Rural Development, Energy-Water, Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development.  For the remaining 8 bills, which include funding for science agencies such as the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, the deadline is February 2. 
The funding fight has been complicated by the Republicans’ demand that spending measures be coupled with strict border security policies that Democrats are strongly opposed to.  In addition, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have threatened to paralyze House proceedings in protest against the top-line spending deal. 
Speaker Johnson rejected the demands for a new spending deal, defying the most conservative members of his party.  “Our top-line agreement remains, we are getting our next steps together, and we are working toward a robust appropriations process,” he said.
In the midst of this turmoil, House and Senate appropriations leaders have continued negotiations to determine top-line allocations for each of the 12 spending bills.  Failure to finalize spending legislation for all agencies by April 30 could activate a 1 percent across-the-board cut due to a provision in the debt legislation enacted last year.
With a partial shutdown looming this Saturday, House and Senate leaders reached a deal earlier this week to extend stopgap government funding until early March.  The January 19 deadline for the first 4 bills would be extended to March 1, while the February 2 deadline would be extended to March 8.  The Senate plans to vote on the stopgap measure today. If approved, it will head to the House, where the Speaker is likely to receive pushback from hardline members of his party.

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